Pubdate: Thu, 16 Sep 2004
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2004 Southam Inc.
Author: Russell Barth


I am surprised that the National Post would publish such an uninformed
and biased column. I would like to comment on some of the points made

"Marijuana isn't the harmless drug that Baby Boomers recall from 25
years ago." This is U.S. prohibitionist propaganda designed to try to
justify that country's War On Plants. I know many people in their
fifties and sixties who say that pot might be generally better now
than before, but they can also remember Jamaican pot from 30 years ago
that was much more potent than any of today's "B.C. Bud."

Ms. Martinuk mentions "scientific progress and genetic modifications"
of pot. There are no gene modifications of cannabis, just cross
breeding, similar to the way people breed award-wining orchids. This
has produced hundreds of strains of cannabis, all of which have
different medicinal characteristics.

"Consequently, prohibition may be the best means we have to limit and
control marijuana use in the next generation." All evidence points to
the contrary. Through regulation and education, the number of tobacco
smokers in our society has dropped significantly, and the use and
abuse of alcohol has also decreased. Prohibition didn't work with
alcohol in the 1920s and it won't work now with cannabis. Prohibition
keeps the black market rich. Continuing with the policy, when it is
clearly already a lost battle, is fiscally irresponsible.

Martinuk writes that "levels of THC (the active chemical ingredient in
marijuana) hovered around 0.5% to 2.0%; they can now be as high as

This is at best an exaggeration. Most organically grown cannabis is
rated at about 12-17% (whereas street weed is rated closer to 4-5%),
which is a good thing, because the higher the levels, the higher the
medicinal value. The less green material smoked, the less the harm,
which is minimal anyway. Hashish is considered better, since it
contains almost pure medicine, with the green all filtered out. One
need only use a tiny bit to achieve the desired effect.

"The bottom line is: We just don't know and, until we do,
[decriminalization] hardly seems like a progressive idea." Actually,
we do know what will happen if marijuana is decriminalized.

We will save billions in prohibition costs, earn billions more in tax
revenues, we will educate people sensibly with facts, and many people
will have a much nicer time being Canadian.

Russell Barth, Ottawa. 
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